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Canberra beckons but will Kiwis fly?
If New Zealanders finally get to fly direct to the Australian capital, Canberra, they will be welcomed to a much-improved terminal. The second wing of the revamped Canberra Airport will open on March 23 as the $A450 million AirVolution upgrade nears completion.
The southern concourse used by Qantas, opened in 2010, will be joined by a ground-up rebuild of the terminal's western concourse, which will be home to Virgin Australia and regional airlines.
It will also be home to international flights with space set aside for customs, immigration and quarantine facilities. But Australian Business Traveller, which also has other pictures of the terminal, reports this fitout won't take place until international services are ready to begin.
Air New Zealand has been discussions with the airport over possible flights to Auckland or Wellington but nothing is likely to come from this for 12-18 months, according to a report in trade journal Travel Today last month.
Etihad opens Paris lounge
Etihad Airways has opened an $US8 million premium lounge at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. The 620sq m lounge, located in Terminal 2, will meet the surging passenger numbers on Etihad Airways’ flights into and out of Paris, which have grown 55% over the past 18 months. The route is now supported by a double daily service between the French capital and Abu Dhabi.
Apart from all the dining and other amenities you would expect, it also features a collection of original artworks including exquisite glass vases, bottles and fish sculptures by glass blower Jean-Claude Novaro, three-dimensional plexigraphies of butterflies and skylines by Jean-Francois Larrieu, and original Arabic artworks by Iraqi calligrapher Hassan Massoudy.
Chinese recognise top NZ attractions
New Zealand was awarded the title of “World’s Best Luxury Destination 2013” in the Shanghai Travelers’ Club 2013 Luxury Travel Awards, countering reports that New Zealand isn’t extracting enough value from the boom in Chinese travelling here.
Tourism Industry Association chief executive Martin Snedden says the award recognises New Zealand as a luxury destination by Chinese travellers. Reports have said most of the value from cheaper package tours go to Chinese operators rather than New Zealand businesses.
Three other New Zealand businesses also won top awards in Shanghai – Auckland Airport was named World’s Best Airport, Whare Kea Lodge the Best Asia-Pacific Boutique Hotel and Millbrook the Best Asia-Pacific Golf Course.
“China has grown rapidly to become New Zealand’s second largest visitor market, with around 200,000 arrivals last year,” Mr Snedden says.“Tourism operators, Tourism New Zealand other government agencies and TIA are putting a lot of resource into getting more value out of this market, including attracting higher-value visitors and encouraging them to stay longer.”
Air New Zealand in line for award
Air New Zealand has been named a finalist in the 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which recognise sustainable tourism best practice in businesses and at destinations.The airline is one of three finalists in the Global Tourism Business category, which recognises corporate success in conjunction with sustainable tourism principles and practices.
Air New Zealand chief executive officer Christopher Luxon says: “It is our aim to become the world’s most environmentally sustainable airline and we have worked hard in recent years to implement a wide range of initiatives across the business to achieve this.
“We are seeing results, too. Between 2006 and 2011, Air New Zealand achieved a 15% fuel efficiency improvement which is the equivalent of more than 140,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually and we are constantly looking at ways to further enhance this efficiency.”
Malaysia Airlines joins Oneworld alliance
Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines have welcomed Malaysia Airlines into their alliance, starting February 1.
MAS offers direct flights to Kuala Lumpur from Auckland, as well as daily flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with onwards legs to major cities including London (on an Airbus 380), Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Mumbai.
These and other Malaysia Airlines flights through Qantas now add miles flown on MAS to Qantas Frequent Flyer points and status credits.